Headin South..to SXSW


Austin is just the kind of place for a Texas style shin dig, and if you happen to be there for the next week you’re in for a real treat. TX Tales is headed to Austin and SXSW to check things out.

March 10th, we stopping over at No Parachute Music Group’s recording party located at and check out a ‘smorgasbord’ of artists that you may or may not have heard of- but really should. You’ll probably fall for the unique sound of Shurman, Teddy Jack, Catherine Elsey, and special guests Spoonfed and Tribe- just to name a few. Visit No Parachute Music Group’s Facebook page for more names and information.

Hopefully Sunday doesn’t tucker you out because on Thursday we’re going to be taking a stroll on over with Heartbreaker Banquet to Willie Nelson’s Luck, Texas Ranch. Yes, Willie Nelson’s private ranch for more music, food, and a liquor bar with cocktails created by New York’s famed mixologist Greg Seider and legendary Designer John Varvatos while our ears are being serenaded by Jim James, Shovels & Rope, Phosphorescent, and many other great line ups.

No event is complete until you have had some good eats so maybe we will see you at Outlaw Chef during the Heartbreaker Banquet and BBQ at the soon to be legendary Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. What makes this place our meal of choice is the philosophy.

Not only is Stiles setting a high bar for his food, but for the type of environment you will find yourself dinning in. Their great location is found in the historical part of central Austin and is said to “host a nostalgic atmosphere that transcends back to the old Austin neighborhood style eatery which combines exceptional Texas BBQ, great atmosphere, and cold Texas craft brews”.

Where there is great Music & Food there is bound to be a Texan, and that’s where you will find us!

Burgers, cold beer and….


Deciding what you want to go with your burger is a rite of passage in a young boy’s life. When I was following my Dad to Kincaid’s, a grocery store that offered blue plate lunch specials, the fries worked for me. But when I started feeling my oats, women, and live music were the side orders of choice. My allegiance shifted to the 7th Street corridor and there I also found the best burger in Fort Worth at Fred’s.


Why has it taken so long for Fred’s to make TXTALES Quest in the West for the Best? Well, we just launched our section of reviews this year, and what better place to start than Fred’s, since they’ve been the winners or on top of just about every list out there. (My favorite on the long roster of awards is Best of 2012 – Carnivorous Indulgence by Texas Magazine, but you’ll also find Fred’s on USA Today’s “51 Best Burger Joints” in 2010, and DFW.com tapped Fred’s for Best Burger of 2009.)


Owner Terry Chandler and his wife have worked hard to make Fred’s what it is today, expanding the patio as a venue for live music and gatherings and more. Terry’s alter ego, Outlaw Chef, drags his period chuckwagon to parades and catered events (and drives the Outlaw Chef Food Truck to private engagements as well). Nobody can really explain why food cooked out of a chuck wagon tastes better, it just does — and the grub Terry sends out the door at Fred’s is already excellent.


If you want to bring some of the taste of Outlaw Chef home, not to worry, you can buy his products in grocery and general stores. (The products are also available online.) We’re not going to promise you that Badlands BBQ Sauce and Heifer Dust Spice Rubs will make your food as good as Terry’s, but they’ll sure as heck up your game compared to the guy who thinks A1 is the be all and end all of meat.


Wood with History

Project by Mr. Crowley using Reclaimed Wood from Vernon, TX.
Project by Mr. Crowley using Reclaimed Wood from Vernon, TX.

Head northwest on US-287 out of Wichita Falls and in about 45 minutes, you’ll hit Vernon, Texas. It’s a community of just under 12,000 sitting a good rock toss from the Red River. Lying parallel to the storied Chisholm Trail 90 miles away, about 7 million head of cattle passed through Vernon on the Great Western Trail before the big drives petered out in the 1890s. Rusted pump jacks in the fields speak to the oil boom days, and the old Cotton Co-Op Warehouse has withstood 113 winters and summers. Now, workers are painstakingly dismantling the century-old building board-by-board to salvage its, beautifully weathered all-grown lumber.


The impressively straight and solid boards coming up out of the 19th century flooring are a precious commodity in the modern world. The only way to find wood of this age and quality is to salvage it from vintage buildings. Builders and designers are clamoring for the material, craving not just the one-of-a-kind patina, but the stability of wood that is almost impervious to crowning or warming. Old-growth lumber doesn’t change. It’s aged beyond such foolishness.


Reusing the wood also makes for a sound environmental practice. No greenhouse emissions are created by manufacturing wood long ago shaped into boards, and less energy is required to erect wood buildings. The long-leaf pine and Douglas fir coming out of the warehouse will be used for molding, floors, furniture, and rustic finishing work. There’s enough to go into multiple projects, and the boards are in such high demand, there won’t be any waste.


But the work of reclamation doesn’t stop there. Other materials taken out of the building will also be repurposed, from the old bricks to tin and metal pipe. The lumber might represent the highest value, but the construction industry is embracing the concept of reuse in a big way, cutting what goes into landfills and preserving pieces of an historical structure destined to find a second life.